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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Gamlkan Jóndr 1VII

Beatrice La Farge (ed.) 2007, ‘Gamli kanóki, Jónsdrápa 1’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry on Christian Subjects. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 7. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 133-4.

Gamli kanókiJónsdrápa

text and translation

Tígnar frák þik upphaf eignask
— eigi mistir blezan Kristi —
ráðeflandi, risnu prúðan,
rekka liðs, af flærðar hnekki,
sólar ranns at siklingr unni
seima brjót* í þessum heimi
mærðar kœnn, ok móður sinni
mætra lífs, an aðrir gæti.

{Ráðeflandi {liðs rekka}}, frák þik, prúðan risnu, eignask upphaf tígnar af {hnekki flærðar} — eigi mistir blezan Kristi — at {mærðar kœnn siklingr {ranns sólar}} unni {brjót* seima} ok sinni móður mætra lífs í þessum heimi, an aðrir gæti.
‘Counsel-provider of the troop of men [MANKIND > APOSTLE], I have heard that you, splendid in munificence, acquired for yourself elevation in honour from the suppressor of falsehood [= God (= Christ)] — you did not go without the blessing of Christ — that the famous lord of the hall of the sun [SKY/HEAVEN > = God (= Christ)] granted to the breaker of gold wires [GENEROUS MAN] and to his own mother a more worthy life in this world than others were able to obtain.

notes and context

Prefaced to this st. is the remark: ok kveðr svá til ástarlófs Jesu Cristi, er hann veitti sínum frænda ‘and he [Gamli] says this in praise of the love that Jesus Christ granted to his relative [John]’ (Jón4 1874, 510). On the idea of John as Christ’s relative, see Note to st. 2/4.

Apart from the intercalary cl. (eigi mistir blezan Kristi ‘you did not go without Christ’s blessing’) and the apostrophe addressed to S. John (ráðeflandi liðs rekka ‘fortifier of the condition of the troop of men’ [MANKIND > APOSTLE = John]), this st. consists of a single sentence, a main cl. and two subordinate cls. The main cl. is frák = frá ek ‘I have heard’, the first subordinate cl. has the form of an acc. and inf. (þik, risnu prúðan, eignask upphaf tignar af flærðar hnekki ‘you, splendid in prowess, acquired for yourself elevation in honour from {the suppressor of falsity} [= Christ]’); the second half of the st. contains the second subordinate cl., which is introduced by the conj. at ‘that’: at mærðar kœnn siklingr ranns sólar, unni brjót seima ok sinni móður mætra lífs í þessum heimi en aðrir gæti ‘that {the glorious lord {of the hall of the sun}} [SKY/HEAVEN > = Christ] granted {to the breaker of gold wires} [GENEROUS MAN = John] and to His own mother a more worthy life in this world than others were able to obtain’



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Gamli kanóki, 1. Jóansdrápa 1: AI, 561, BI, 547, Skald I, 265, NN §3124; Jón4 1874, 510, Bugge 1874, 933, Lange 1958a, 81.


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